With only two races remaining on the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, teams in all four classes will have an eye on their respective championships in the Lone Star Le Mans at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, Sept. 17 (live, FS2, 12:30 p.m. ET).
IMSA today released the entry list for Round 11 of the WeatherTech Championship. The Prototype and Prototype Challenge classes – which sat out the recent event at Virginia International Raceway – return to action, joining the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes in the two-hour 40-minute race.
ENTRY LIST: COTA
Action Express Racing is in the driver’s seat for the Prototype title, scoring 1-2 finishes in its last three races. Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi seek their third consecutive title in the No. 5 Corvette DP, although their teammates Dane Cameron and Eric Curran won at both Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America to close the gap to one point in the standings, 253-252.
“It’s hard to believe there’s only two rounds to go,” said Cameron, who joined Curran on the podium in six of the eight races this season.
“We’ve won the last two races and Action Express have been 1-2 in the last three, so certainly we have a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum within our car and our organization. We’re looking to taking that forward into COTA and to Petit Le Mans after that.
“Everything’s where we want it to be and firing on all cylinders, and we’re ready to make a run at the championship with the No. 31 car.”
Also within striking distance of the Prototype lead with 242 points is the No. 10 Corvette DP of brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor.
The Prototype class also includes Visit Florida Racing’s No. 90 Corvette DP of Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel, the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Ozz Negri and John Pew, the two Mazda Prototypes driven by Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito, Tom Long and Joel Miller and the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing Coupe of Katherine Legge and Sean Rayhall.
The GTLM championship battle has turned into a showdown of Chevrolet vs. Ford.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner – four-time winners this season in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – enter Texas with a seven-point lead (287-280) over Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, who have won three races in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.
Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia won the most recent round at VIRginia International Raceway in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R, while 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller finished second at VIR in the No. 66 Ford GT.
BMW Team RLL is the defending GTLM winner at Circuit of The Americas, with Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner returning in the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM. The team also fields the No. 100 BMW for John Edwards and Lucas Luhr.
Porsche North America fields the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, plus the No. 912 for Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki. Ferrari is represented by the Houston-based No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE of Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander.
A pair of Texas-based Dodge Vipers headline the 17-car GTD lineup.
Ben Keating of Tomball, Texas and Jeroen Bleekemolen are seeking their third consecutive Circuit of The Americas victory in the Houston-based No. 33 Dodge Viper GT3-R. Dallas-based Lone Star Racing fields the No. 80 Viper for Dan Knox, also of Dallas, and Mike Skeen.
Scuderia Corsa drivers Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan enter the event with a 20-point lead over Keating and Bleekemolen, 268-248. The drivers of the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 won two races and have scored five podium finishes this season.
Audi’s three car lineup includes Magnus Racing’s two-time winning No. 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 of John Potter and Andy Lally, and Stevenson Motorsports’ two-car entry, the No. 6 Audi of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis, joined by the No. 9 Audi of Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell.
Lamborghini makes its WeatherTech Championship debut at COTA with Paul Miller Racing, with the VIR-winning No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers; Change Racing, led by the No. 16 car of Spencer Pumpelly and Corey Lewis; and Dream Racing with the No. 27 of Luca Persiani and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli.
Porsche’s entry includes the Dallas-based No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Patrick Lindsey and Joerg Bergmeister, joining the Alex Job Racing No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing Porsche of Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas.
Turner Motorsport returns with a pair of BMW M6 GT3s for drivers Bret Curtis, Jens Klingmann, Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala, while Aston Martin returns to GTD competition with the No. 007 TRG-AMR Godstone Ranch Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande, drivers of the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09, finished sixth in the most recent PC round at Road America, seeing their lead trimmed to seven points, 293-286, over the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car with drivers Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith, with two wins.
In addition to the No. 8 machine, Starworks will field two more cars at the event, with the No. 7 of Gustavo Yacaman and Jose Gutierrez joining the No. 88 entry of Mark Kvamme and Richard Bradley.
CORE autosport is the defending PC winner at Austin, with Jon Bennett and Colin Braun returning in the No. 54 car. BAR1 Motorsports will race two cars. Bruno Junqueira joins Matt McMurry in the No. 20 car, while John Falb joins Don Yount in the No. 26 entry.
Other PC entries include James French in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports machine, and Misha Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports entry.
Practice for the Lone Star Le Mans begins at 10:25 a.m. CT on Thursday, Sept. 15, with qualifying on Friday at 3:45 p.m. CT. The weekend also includes the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, racing on Friday at 12:40 p.m. CT.